tv Meet the Press MSNBC April 6, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a delicious taste. grandpa! [ female announcer ] look for valuable savings on boost in your sunday paper. this morning, coming to terms with the tragedy of ft. hood. how could there be a second shooting spree in five years at the very same base? i'll discuss the big security questions at the base, as well as the mental health questions for our returning veterans with admiral mike mullen, former head of the joint chiefs of staff. also this week, does an important supreme court ruling open the floodgates to the rich having even more influence over our elections? the alabama businessman who won the case debates if american democracy is for sale. and unique insights into an environmental fight over the keystone pipeline. our "meeting america" feature takes us to a tiny nebraska town
with a big stake in president obama's decision. plus, he sparked a huge wall street firestorm this week. author michael lewis joins our roundtable to talk about why he thinks the markets are rigged for the benefit of insiders. from nbc news in washington, the world's longest running television program, this is "meet the press" with david gregory. we're going to get the latest on the ft. hood tragedy in a minute. first a little news. as time is running out, there are some big developments in the search for the black box from that malaysia airlines flight 370. for the latest on the search, here's my colleague ian williams in perth, australia this morning. what have you learned? >> good morning. the search reached a new level of intensity today with ships and aircraft racing to a remote part of the indian ocean where a chinese vessel claims to have detected faint noises which it says are on the same frequency as those emitted by the black box flight recorder of flight 370.
it says it heard those noises on friday and then again over a 90-second period on saturday. the australian agency which is overseeing this search said this it is an important lead, but it also urged caution. they said there may be other leads but it does need to be verified. so it's sending fresh kit, including more sonar gear into that area. separately the australians said today the u.s. pinger locator the device being dragged behind an australian ship also detected faint sounds this morning in an area 300 miles away from where the chinese are. so clearly, they can't be the same thing. this is a new stage of the search. there is great urgency because the batteries on the black box are fast running out of power. but certainly, they are now chasing every lead they can, david. >> all right. ian williams, thank you so much. again, the battery is a big issue. time running out there. thanks.
now to the latest from ft. hood. witnesses say a dispute over a request for a pass to leave the base led specialist ivan lopez to shoot and kill three people and himself wounding 16 others, and he's being evaluated at the same time for post traumatic stress disorder all of that happening at the same time. his family says his mental health was affected by the recent deaths of his mother and grandfather, all of that happening this week. i'm joined now from sarasota, florida, by admiral mike mullen, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff from 2007 to 2011. in that role, he served presidents bush and obama as their top military advisor overseeing the campaigns in afghanistan and iraq. admiral, welcome. always good to have your perspective. >> good morning, david. good to be with you. >> i want to talk about the mental health aspects here that are troubling in this case and beyond for our returning veterans. let me ask the specific security question. just within the past couple weeks in the independent review
after that navy yard shooting here in washington, secretary of defense hagel said there are still troubling gaps when it comes to security on our military bases. and at ft. hood, a second shooting spree in five years, different circumstances but two in five years. something's not working when it comes to securing our bases. >> well, i would certainly agree with you, david, in the sense that we've got challenges that we have to address as a result of this incident. first and foremost, i just -- my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those that we've lost and the wounded, as well as the family of the shooter. many, many are suffering, and i think as general miley said the other day, first and foremost, we need to reach out to those families and make sure that they are supported. secondly, with respect to your question, i think we need to certainly take a look at securing our bases for our people. right now, in our 13th year of
war, it's a time of great stress for our military. we've been through a lot. and as we come out of these wars and come back home, i think just what i've seen in this particular example indicates the mix of characteristics and issues that are associated with that stress. to include anxiety and depression, possible posttraumatic stress, mild tbi, dealing with financial and personal problems. i think our force, because it's been away so much, has not had to deal with those as directly as they may have in the past. and now that we're going to be home more, i think we're going to see actually an increased number of challenges associated with that. we all need to wrap our arms around the force to help them deal with those. >> i'll follow up on that but i want to stick to the security issue itself because when something like this happens, there is in part a debate over guns, over security, over tightening up the internal
potential threats within a military installation. mike mccaul, chairman of the house homeland security committee, was on fox news this week saying this is an issue of greater arms. we ought to allow our returning soldiers to be armed on these military installations. not just security. here's what he said. i'll get your reaction. >> if they are trained in warfare, they can carry weapons in warfare, it seems to me that there is some logic to allowing them to carry weapons on a military base where they can defend themselves. the problem here and with ft. hood, the prior nadal hasan case, was that they couldn't defend themselves because they were not allowed to carry weapons. >> does this trouble you, that perspective? or do you think that's part of the answer? >> well, i think we need to review the security procedures. i'm not one as someone who's been on many, many bases and posts that would argue for
arming anybody that's on base. i think that actually invites much more difficult challenges. i think we've got to get at the issues that are singled out in this particular incident with respect to the individuals. certainly, we have to do everything we can to protect everybody that's on base. and i'm sure this incident will cause secretary hagel to review those procedures, but i would be much more in the camp of fixing it that way and focusing on the individuals than routinely allowing arms on any base, military base in the country. >> admiral, you talked about the country putting our arms around our returning veterans. i go to a lot of sports games. a lot of hockey games where you see several breaks during the game to pay tribute to those returning heroes. everybody's on their feet, standing ovation.
but at the same time, i've seen surveys indicating people don't really -- the returning veterans don't feel like most americans understand what they've been through. so what specifically do you think is not being done enough with regard to dealing with the kind of stress, anxiety and more severe mental strain that these returning veterans are facing? >> well, i don't think this is just a military problem, david. i think this is a national problem. we have been short of military help professionals in the military just as we are dramatically short throughout the country. we have to provide the resources and the research to get at these issues like posttraumatic stress, mild tbi. we need to develop objective measures so that we can unequivocally state what the problem is. that's one thing. as we deal with our vets particularly those so many that are transitioning back into communities throughout the
country, we need to focus local leadership on their future, which includes their health, their education, as well as employment. we also need to focus and include family members from beginning to end, whether it's mental health challenges or whether it's employment. our spouses and families, our kids have been through a lot and they've been unbelievably supportive. this is a great military. and i wouldn't want one incident like this to tarnish the reputations of the hundreds of thousands of vets in our country who run businesses, who teach at schools, who coach little league teams and who make a big difference in our community now and will for the future. that said, we do need to deal with the challenges that i specifically suggested we focus on. >> when you talk about tbi, you're talking about traumatic brain jury which, of course, is a huge issue for a lot of those surviving warfare when in previous generations they may
not have. is this a resource issue? is this ultimately going to be the veterans administration, elsewhere in the government, the pentagon, spending more dollars to be able to put their arms around our returning veterans? >> well, i'm taken back, david, in the 21st century that we know so little about the brain. so i think the president's initiative with respect to brain mapping is critical. i'm involved in a research effort at nyu to look at the ability to determine biomarkers, voice patterns, blood measurements that would indicate both posttraumatic stress and tbi as a problem. so this really is a national resource issue. one that, again, i'm surprised we know so little about in the 21st century, and i think we need to do a lot more to try to understand the brain and how these injuries affect our young people who have done so much for our country and that we really have to take care of in the
future. >> admiral, when you've been on this program numerous times in uniform when you were serving as chairman of the joint chiefs, we would talk about afghanistan. i don't want to let you go without covering this. it's an important weekend with elections in afghanistan. the post-hamid karzai era. there's a striking new book by carlotta gall entitled "the wrong enemy." i want to read a portion that struck me and a foreboding sense of what's to come. she writes militant islamism is a juggernaut that cannot be turned off or turned away from. pakistan is still exporting militant terrorism and will not stop once foreign forces leave its borders. the repercussions of the u.s. pullout are already inspiring islamists who are comparing it to the withdrawal of the soviet union after its ten-year war in afghanistan. they are the real enemy in this war. they have not finished fighting.
they fully intend to reclaim afghanistan and set their sights on horizons beyond. a pretty troubling picture. is that the future once u.s. forces leave afghanistan and that region in pakistan, as well? >> i think it's very difficult to predict the future. none of us have been very good at it. certainly, i would agree, it's an area of great concern and will continue to be because of the islamists, the militants that are there. i this it's going to be the charge for the international community writ large as well as the leadership in many both afghanistan and pakistan to address these issues. but it's a very worrisome future with respect to that particular area. i'm actually encouraged by the elections in terms of the turnout. that said, i'm -- i continue to be concerned about the overall effects of the government of afghanistan on its people because of the lack of addressing supporting them and corruption and those kinds of things. pakistan certainly also has its challenges.
in the end, i actually in long-term, i have hope for the people in that part of the world. i don't think it's an area that we're going to be able to neglect. we're not going to be able to walk away from it, and there are lots of things in addition to military support which are required in order to address the challenges for those people. >> all right. to be continued. admiral, always good to have your perspective. thanks so much. >> thank you, david. we'll switch gears now and talk about the issue of money in politics and the debate over whether american democracy is for sale. in a 5-4 decision, the supreme court eliminated limits how much money individuals can donate in any two-year election cycle, a separate limit put in place on how much can be donated to a single candidate remains in place. to debate, i'm joined by the man hop won that case, businessman shaun mccutcheon and robert weissman, president of public citizen which argues for additional campaign finance limits. welcome to both of you. certainly a fascinating issue.
here's my thing, mr. mccutcheon. as you look at this, here's a new reality. right? the american democracy for sale? how do you have candidates in the future now going to the wealthiest donors in the country and saying i want an unlimited amount of money? how does that is not at some-point lead to corruption? >> again, i think this is an issue about independent private people exercising free speech and regardless of economic status, all americans are entitled to free speech. so this is a first amendment guaranteed right under the constitute. all americans are entitled to -- >> and the supreme court agreed with you in a 5-4 decision and upheld that. if you sit back as a citizen and say i want to be politically involved and if i'm a person of great means and i've got all these candidates saying i want an unlimited amount of money, do you not worry that leads to corruption at some point? >> i am a citizen. i'm interested in being involved in the process. i'm interested in change for the better. that's what motivated me to support candidates.
and again, it's about your right to support as many candidates, committees and pacs you choose. it's a political activity. it's like robert said, it's the most fundamental right in this country is our right as the people to select our leaders. >> so here's what justice stephen breyer wrote in a dissenting opinion. in part he writes, what has had to do with corruption? it has everything to do with corruption where enough money calls the tune the general public will not be heard, robert weissman. so shaun mccutcheon as an individual may have his free speech being honored here but is he going to count as much as the super wealthy in trying to influence elections? >> what the court decided was that individuals have the right, a first amendment right, to give up to $5.9 million to candidates, parties and political committees. there are only a few hundred people in this country who have the wherewithal to do that.
and have shown the inclination to do it. they're going to do it and they're going to expect something back in return. exactly as justice breyer said, what that means is those people have the stranglehold over how the process works and everybody else is left out of the game. >> all the money in politics is still out there. there's lots of money in politics. again, individual people exercising freedom of speech is a good thing. bringing competition to the process. i mean, how are these candidates, these good managerial type candidates that can't sell fund, the candidate, him or herself can donate infinite money to their own campaign. what about candidates that can't, you know, afford that? you know, they need donors, individual private donors, like me and others that can donate directly to their campaigns, and we shouldn't be limited to nine candidates or ten candidates. >> but the issue that i'm getting to is you as an individual with free speech to be able to give to as many candidates as you want, do you really have the kind of say as
the political parties will be strengthened here, outside groups will be strengthened, those who would come together in a committee fashion, won't they overwhelm the individuals' ability? robert, to have the kind of impact that mr. mccutcheon says is so important? >> well, first of all, he says he wants to support a lot of candidates, he is free to do that and he was free to do that before the decision. he's not talking about support. he's not talking about handing out leaflets or a sign in his yard. he's talking about the ability to the give money to candidates. that's not the same thing. it doesn't deserve the same kinds of first amendment protection. the people who do have the wherewithal to give multimillion dollar checks to party leaders will have a lot of influence but it's going to be at the expense of the rest of us. >> do you worry there's a quid pro quo? the watergate era brought on the idea of more of these regulations. is that what you see here? >> that's for sure going to happen. the chief justice said that's the only thing we should think about whether there's quid pro quo meaning bribery.
that's going to be a problem with this much money sloshing around. the bigger problem is brought influence and a tilted playing field. the chief justice said we don't care about those things. the american people do care about those things and he should. >> to mr. mccutcheon's point, kind of like when you try to keep water out of the basement. you try to seal the basement. water finds its own levels and water always finds a way into the basement. money is in politics in a huge way. wouldn't you rather have it be more transparent, not citizens united, the knock against that was it created outside groups that didn't have to disclose. here you have money coming in at least the political parties are strengthened. perhaps you have more transparency. >> you're right. there's a problem with the existing system. it was a massively broken system before the decision in mccutcheon. what we really need is a constitutional amendment to sweep away what the supreme court has done and make it possible for we the people to exercise some sensible control over how our elections are run. >> you'd like to see this go further.
as i said at the top, as an individual, you still have an individual cap on what you can give to a candidate. justice thomas said that should have been done away with, as well. would you like to see that happen? >> we, i've been saying the whole time i thought some base limits made some sense, but i think they're a low number because you can't buy many ads with $5,200. again, this is about freedom of speech and an individual and it's funny how he believes it's about we the people. that's what i believe. i believe it's about individuals, the same kind of individuals that came here in search of freedom and opportunity. >> but you're still not answering why you think as an individual you'll have as much power as the mega rich who not only can fund a super pac but can also empower committees to get together to influence an issue much more than an individual campaign or an individual can. >> well, again, it's the fundamental right of selecting our leaders by the people. we don't need the government to
select our leaders. we need the people to select the leaders. it's about political assembly, it's a fundamental most important right. >> we do need we the people to select the leaders. the problem is when a few hundred people are able to spend multimillion dollars over the electoral process, they are the ones who have an outside influence over electing our leaders and deciding what those leaders will do once they're in office. >> are you for total transparency? if you give a check, should a campaign immediately put that up on their website so everybody can see it's from you. >> yes, sir. >> doesn't seem to be working through congress yet. doesn't have the support for it. >> these donations we're talking about are transparent donations. they're all reported. >> we'll see where congress wants to get involved now. thanks to both of you very much. >> thank you. >> appreciate it. we'll be back here in 90 seconds with our political roundtable to talk about all the week's politics, including this decision. president obama celebrated his hitting the health care enrollment target he was after this week, but is the issue still a liability for democrats? we'll get into that.
plus, should members of congress who represent one of the least liked institutions in america actually make more money? one congressman thinks perhaps they should and might get a little sympathy. and the politics of the selfie. what was wrong with this picture according to the white house? we'll talk about it. time now for cnbc's executive edge week ahead. brought to you by comcast business. built for business. >> i'm andrew ross sorkin with your week ahead. tuesday, microsoft hands its support for its xp operating system which runs 95% of the nation's atm. banks must upgrade or face security risks. on thursday, another look at the jobs market with data on weekly unemployment claims and the galaxy s5 hits stores worldwide. you can get all the latest business news on cnbc and cnbc.com. u. mayo? corn dogs? you are so outta here! aah! [ female announcer ] the complete balanced nutrition
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we are back. welcome back. that's harold ford with a cough. after kentucky's big win last night. kathleen parker, former tennessee congressman, harold ford, former new hampshire senator and "boston globe" contributor john sununu who this week wrote a piece entitled "obamacare misses the target." also former aol ceo steve case. he's an entrepreneur with a unique perspective on both the business and tech worlds.
we're glad to have you with some views on the political week that it was. here's the cover of the week magazine that got my attention. alive and kicking, president obama may be a little nicked up after this health care fight, but he seems like he had a fairly good week on this. senator, do you not think so, hitting 7 million the enrollment figures? you still think it hasn't made the mark. >> no, it's not about the enrollment figures. it's about reducing the number of uninsured in this country. we have 50 million uninsured. if you only look at the enrollment figure, you miss the question of how many of them were previously uninsured. so you have to multiply by about 80%, rand says probably 80% will be the number that be actually pay. get you down to 5.6 and how many who were previously uninsured, 25% previously uninsured. now you're down to 1.4 million. that's about 3%. reducing the number of uninsured in america by 3% for how much money?
$2 trillion. >> but steve case, it sounds like a republican argument to try to deal with the reality that people who didn't have insurance are getting insurance or their kids are now being allowed to stay on their policies or if you had pre-existing conditions those are covered now. republicans are trying it seems their best to say this thing isn't going to work. this is a pretty good sign it's here to stay this week be don't you think. >> it will need to be modified and tweaked over time. but there's twos aspects i think not getting enough attention. in the long run i think it will be helpful particularly in fueling startups and entrepreneurships. one is the mobility. people can leave big companies to go to small companies. before they were concerned about losing their health care. and the second we've seen in the last couple years, hundreds of new startups funded by venture capital lifts in the health sector really trying to create better outcomes at lower cost with more convenience. so in the long time, there will
be the debate about the actuarial tables but there are some positives embedded in that ultimately will drive more innovation in health care. >> harold, there's pure politics. right? i mean, do the politics improve or is it still a bad pool for democrats to try to argue the case? >> the politics is marginally improved. you have to look at the specific senate races. it's unclear if. the pryors and hagans of the world will embrace this. i do think case's point is probably the best one in terms of where we're headed and how new innovation and technology will make it easier to capture those uninsured. to john's point, the president promised three things. he would get everybody insurance, number two, pay for it, and three, make it affordable. the main question is affordability. we're going to cover more people. we're going to find ways to pay for it. will we curtail costs going forward? the jury is still out there. that's the argument going forward the republicans have to show they have an answer to.
>> wellpoint just announced double digit increases, the biggest provider in california, double digit increases. >> the government could help defray that. do premiums go up? perhaps they will. perhaps the government pays some of that bill. >> what harold was talking about wasn't subsidy, it was cost. the overall cost of the system. when premiums are going up double digit, you're not achieving that goal. >> which is why steve's point is so important. >> i love the idea that entrepreneurs will come in and rescue this whole situation. that's the way it should be. >> exactly. >> we could have solved the mobility problem with one act of legislation without an entire comprehensive program. however, i think the biggest problem, the biggest challenge for the democrats is not whether it's 7.1 million or 30 million, whatever the real numbers are. it is that in the process of this rollout as well as the signups to this point is that since we don't know what those numbers mean and since the rollout has been rather disastrous, the american people at a time when they have such distrust of government in
general see quite clearly that the people that passed the bill really never did have any idea what they were doing. and that is going to be the biggest obstacle. >> say with that. i think that's important which is ultimately what is the impact? not what they're doing but what is the ultimate impact of this. harold mentioned mark pryor running in arkansas and there's an ad from americans for prosperity, the koch brothers. which is a whole separate discussion perhaps we can touch on. here's a portion of that ad and how they're trying to target mark pryor. >> it's like living in a haze. you don't know whether you're going to have insurance or whether you're going to be able to afford your insurance. it was taken away from us. or it was given back to us. or it was taken -- we don't know what it's been now. i think the american people are tired of this constant angst, this constant crisis. they want certainty in their lives. >> so it's the idea of what's the impact, the confusion already that that's the attack against it. >> exactly.
and by the way, i think you could find someone who doesn't have a southern accent who is confused by this act. snunlg we always seem to find the character who seems a little countrified who can't just fathom this. there are plenty of smart people equally hazy about what is really going on. >> the portrait this week, the white house was right to talk about the numbers. but they shouldn't be doing a victory lap right now. there's still problems with this. there's confusion around this. those kind of ads will continue to run across the country. and the question becomes, when do the people have the courage to say what's working and not working? to make the case as the president tried to make more eloquent, more people getting health care, i don't think anyone is opposed. the question is legitimate ones raised that need to be answered. >> the confusion and cost are the biggest political risks. and those are things that aren't going to improve dramatically between now and election.
>> let's talk about the debate about whether democracy is for sale. steve case, when you follow all of this, my question which is how if campaigns come to you, steve case, and say you're a man of means. we'd like you to give an unlimited amount of money to the campaign. how do you not raise the specter of corruption at some point down the line? >> i focus less on politics, frankly, and more on policy. but i actually think we're fighting last year's battle. all this effort is around raising money to fund television ads. i hate to break this to you, but people are watching less television. the campaigns of the future are not going to be fought based on 30-second ads on television. that's why the internet is emerging is a force to spread information, engage with people. i think the next wave of campaigns, it may take five or ten years but people will not be running the campaigns the same way the political industrial complex has been running them. >> they want less money? >> no. >> the last election proved steve right. karl rove and his organization spent $100 million and every one
of their candidates lost. >> but they also had a substance problem, too. >> exactly. it's about substance and it's about the voters ultimately choose and they're all equal and all cast one vote. so the suggestion i think you are getting at in the last segment that money is decisive is not only wrong as steve points out, it's probably going to be more wrong over time. it's how you reach them. you can reach them more economically, more targeted. >> my question was more about if shaun mccutcheon believes that the individual is king, my question, kathleen, is whether that's really the case. is the individual or the individual campaign as strong as a consortium of committees outside groups and so forth who can have a bigger impact even if as steve says, over time maybe the television impact is reduced? >> i agree completely with that. and i had that thought as they were talking which is that social media sort of neutralizes the whole idea that this greater sum of money that people can
allocate is going to be influential in the long run. i think that i agree so much with what michael kingsley wrote that, you know, speech is money is speech and lots of money is louder speech that reaches more people. people do have the option of not paying attention to that speech. >> i wonder whether sheldon adelson who has this cattle call where he invites potential nominees who are sure to come, whether he at some point says it's not worth spending $1 billion if i'm not going to get my guy in. maybe i shouldn't be spending so much, harold. >> he has every right to do what he chooses to do. far be it from me to try to tell him. i think your discussion you had with mccutcheon and president weissman about these monies, money is there. all this decision was to try to redirect some of the flow of it. any chance you have to re-empower the political parties which are accountable, the is transparent, they foster a
coalition kind of thinking is a positive thing. if you take weissman's word and this is a disaster and you take justice breyer, perhaps it will invite a kind of confusion and chaos and collapse of the system that will force us to change altogether. this decision doesn't alarm me like it has learned some of democratic friends. i think it will empower individual campaigns. which in the long run having run a campaign along with run i'd much rather have a transparency ta way as opposed to having outside groups come in i have to answer to. >> accountability is what's so important. a candidate's campaign organization, campaigns run bad ads to be sure. but they're much more accountable and responsive if they mislead, if they misstate facts. they've got to respond and take down an ad. it's the third parties, it's the super pacs that have the least amount of accountability in the civility. >> i'm not a fan of disarming the political parties. 40% of our countries doesn't align with republicans or democrats and feel like there's something missing in the center.
that's where there is the ability for social media, people engage in their communities and kind of try to rebuild that sense. part of this is money but part is getting people to engage in policy, engage in politics in a way that allows us to rebuild a sensible center. >> i think from what i'm hearing what stands out is right. the power of the individual to be discerning and to make up their own mind is really powerful. i don't know that that excuses the idea we have a political system so awash in money you've got to the work that hard to ignore it and focus on what you want. something seems out of balance. the question is to what extent congress wants to get back into the attempt to try to regulate it. we're going to see you in a few minutes. we'll come back. we're going to take a break. still to come, our new "meeting america" feature. as president obama weighs whether to build that keystone xl pipeline, kevin tibbles visits a tiny midwestern town where his decision is going to have a pretty big impact and he hears both sides of the argument. >> it does boost the economy for
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you remembered earlier you heard earlier from shaun mccutcheon whose court case made waves this week. i tweeted with president obama's 2012 campaign manager jim messina as part of this week's tweak the press interview series. he called the decision ridiculous. you can see the full interview on our website as part of "meet the press" 24/7 to bring the conversation to you all week along @meethepressnbc.com. follow me on twitter for tweet the press and more i'm @davidgregory. we're back here with "meeting america" right after this. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work.
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but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still gonna give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. ♪ welcome back. this week the u.n. issued an unprecedented warning about climate change. arguing extreme weather events will become even more common. the president's inability to get significant legislation combating climate change through congress makes his decision about the controversial keystone xl pipeline all the more politically difficult. so we wanted to get out of washington to meet some people directly affected by all of this. in today's "meeting america," kevin tibbles visited a small midwestern town whose future will be shaped by the president's decision.
>> a tiny speck of a nebraska town, steele city, has some stories to tell. covered wagons made tracks, headed west. wild bill hicock gunned down his first man not far from here, shot him in the back they say. these days, more often than not, things roll on by without a second thought. and in the weather-worn facades and storefronts, steele city shows its age. >> we used to have two grocery stores, a hardware store, livery barn, lumberyard, creamery, stockyards, basically dwindled away. >> bill shilly runs the post office, is the town's maintenance man, and also the mayor. he won with 21 votes. not bad really. folks are few here. >> 50. give or take one or two. >> sign out front says 84 people live here.
>> but that's an old sign. >> no one's ever struck oil in steele city, but an awful lot of it sure passes through. four pipelines already converge on the outskirts. and a fifth the proposed keystone xl would bring canadian crude south en route to u.s. refineries. >> one since came through and built have been good business. like as far as calling in ahead of time saying i have four days lunches. can you have them ready at 12:10? it's been a good business having them come through. >> the salty dog is the only place in town to get a bite and it's really the only place in town. margot d'angelo lovingly serves up the chow. >> if i blow this one, i did it on purpose. oh. >> oh. yea. >> i scratched. >> i won. >> and she's all for the pipeline. >> it does boost the economy for everyone around here. me, my employees, that might mean difference in an employee getting a new car.
might mean a new air conditioning system for the tavern or i might be able to have a vacation. >> but there is considerable opposition on the other side. some maintain any pipeline spill would devastate nebraska's environment. others say americans need to wean themselves from fossil fuels. >> for most nebraskans, the environment is a very secondary issue. >> and there's the question of money. >> we have 1.million people in nebraska. we have 50 people in steele city. >> so you do the math. >> dave is a lawyer fighting keystone on behalf of farmers who want a better compensation package. >> a good neighbor would not say to you, you take this deal or you're out. >> you're suggesting a little bit of bullying has gone on. >> it has. >> the ones that's fighting this, i think it's more political than anything. >> do you ever worry in a couple of years, steele city may be no more?
>> oh, yeah, i am. >> it is the future that fuels the uncertainty in this part of the country. there's plenty of past to go around. >> blacksmithing was a way of life. >> we can get that white hot. >> so as local men breathe new life into this old stone building, keeping their craft alive, they look ahead. >> i welcome the future. i have to. if you don't, the country's going to go backwards but don't forget your past. >> for "meet the press," kevin tibbles. >> interesting. we're back with our roundtable now. kathleen parker, what are we learning as we listen on the ground there and get out of the washington part of the debate? what are we learning when we hear from the communities involved? >> clearly people want the economy to grow, jobs to come through. i think if i were president obama, i would adopt steele city as the new american city. i would say let's get that pipeline going. let's make sure we have everything in place to protect the environment as much as we can. and watch that little city
blossom like a desert flower. wouldn't that be fun? >> it is interesting, steve, that, you know, there's different sides to this argument. there in steele city where there's not a lot of people. they certainly depend on this. there's an economic upside. a lot of the farmers in that area see an economic downside if they don't get a good enough deal to have the pipeline come through, and there's environmental piece, as well that through the area where the pipeline would cross and the national resources defense council sent us this statement to make sure it was part of the debate. i'll put it on the screen. keystone xl would significantly add to carbon pollution that's driving climate change and undermine the country's climate leadership and imperil the health and drinking water of millions of americans. is the climate change aspect has to be tough for the president as i mentioned. he's not getting a significant climate change legislation through congress is why this decision is so tricky. >> obviously it's balancing
environmental concerns with some of the job concerns. my sense is the president probably will approve it. we shouldn't just focus on the energy we have today. we should focus on the energy we need tomorrow and invest in technologies and things like micro grids, some of the things around the natural gas boom have been driven by new technologies. we need a portfolio of renewable solutions and have to bet on the entrepreneurs to create the new technologies that do create the jobs, drives the economy, but do it in a way safe to our environment. >> harold, you go outside of this fight in washington, you do learn something from people who are saying, you know, we may be concerned about the environment but we've got a real potential upside with the economy. >> to put the environment in perspective, as you know, the state department has conducted study after study after study including one after the president claimed if approving the pipeline would exacerbate carbon pollution and he would be against it. the most recent report from the state department suggests this would not exacerbate the carbon footprint, number one. two, the economics of this are clear. in that piece, the only tension you really had was between farmers who thought they should
be paid more. they probably should be. one of the things the president ought to think about is asking those to get up-front to set aside money for potential clean-up. the concerns about disaster are real. they're thousands of miles of pipelines across this country already transporting crude. so let's understand that. >> more coming up in just a minute. we're going to hear from more of you as we progress here. don't forget tonight on nbc, ann curry hosts a special documentary about climate change "a year of extremes, did climate change just hit home?" on topic there. coming up, michael lewis the author of "moneyball" on his new book and whether wall street is stacked against the little guy. it's created quite a buzz. and we'll talk about it. in jel, impact life expectancy in the u.s.,
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my next guest michael lewis has stirred things up this week. a lot of controversy over revelations he's made about what's called high frequency trading in his latest book "flash boys: a wall street revolt." michael lewis, welcome back. >> thanks for having me. >> you are so cool, with a tie, you always come t0 play. >> i can barely get out of bed on sunday morning to get here. this is the best i could do. sorry. >> your game face alone wins the awards. isn't that the commercial? this book has made a lot of headlines. i want to cut to aspect of the controversy of it, who does it affect. jim cramer on cnbc said if you're the average investor, maybe you're building for the future, you're not as concerned about the ups and downs of stock prices. you're holding something for a long time. who's most affected by this? >> so two answers to that question. anybody who is not a high frequency trader is competing on an unlevel playing field in the exchanges with the high frequency traders. they have advanced information
about what you want to do before you do it. now, but the price every time is pennies. you're talking about trivial sums of money for an individual investor if you look at it that way. if you add up the skim or scalp, it's billions a year. that's a tax on investment capital. that's not i don't think the big problem. the big problem is in order to sort of maximize the collisions between high frequency traders and regular investors to the detriment of regular investors, the exchanges have been compromised and made way too complicated. they're unstable. we have flash crashes. we have outages and ipos that don't work. so i think the bigger problem is really the integrity of the stock market and the relationship of wall street to the rest of society. so i think it's not a -- if you are an individual investor sitting in your underpants paying trivial sums of money.
it's costing you probably trivial sums of money. that's not the problem. the problem is what it's done to the heart of capitalism. >> i saw the question where are the regulators. we get into a system that gets more and more sophisticated even the practitioners didn't understand what they were creating and how to manage it. maybe here it's pure manipulation. you write something in part of the book where you say wall street firms not just the big banks but all of them have grown greatly more concerned than they were in the late '80s with the what some journalists might say about them. they have a lot more to fear. >> the reporting environment has changed. and it's changed in this way. the firms are much more corporate. they're much more resistant to any kind of inquiry. but having said that, the people who work in these firms are much less loyal to the firms. everybody's a free agent on wall street. it's much easier in some ways to get stories because people will go out for a beer with you and spill the beans about their firm because they don't care about
the firm. but the firms themselves are opaque. i mean, they're hard to understand. and the fact is that i mean, since the 1980s, the financial sector has gotten so much more complicated. this complexity is a form of opacity. at some point the complexity like with the subprime mortgage crisis, at the bottom of this was the problem that nobody understood what was in a subprime cdo. and at the bottom of this story that i just described, nobody understands the stock market. it's crazy. the stock market has become like a secret. how it works. >> and that's a question. >> they may worry less about their firm, but they're worried as much or more than ever about their own reputation because the regulatory scrutiny and political risk to them is that much higher. jamie dimon or lloyd blankfein, they're quasi political figures, yeah, they're corporate figures but feeling a political responsibility or accountability or exposure that they've never seen before. >> there's a bigger problem
here which is when i was growing up, i guess i'm getting old, you invest in a company with the idea some day that will company would be more valuable. 10, 20 years ago things got short and people were focused on the corner. now we're focused on milliseconds. we need to get back more to a built to last, invest in the future. not just in hot money, momentum money. maybe there's policy changes necessary to incent for long-term buy and hold kind of investment which is what's critical to build our economy is to back these companies, particularly back the startups with long-term money, not the short-term hot money. >> it's a question, too. to what extent wall street has changed as well as washington's ability to prevent the next big thing from happening. >> i guess one of the questions i would have for michael as you talk about the confidence in the market and exchanges, what's the answer? is it more regulation or different kind of regulation or new exchanges? what would you recommend? >> the main character of this story is interesting. they're all starters wall street
insiders and pieced together how the market is working from the inside. they come to the conclusion, once they discover what they discover, they go to the fcc. it's paralyzed. it's not that they're not smart. they can't see the fcc ever taking action in advance of a crisis. but they see that like the problem is, well-meaning regulation being gamed by really smart people in the market. you create the new regulation. someone comes along and games it. i think what they've done, they're market-based solutions. the solution is disruptive entrepreneurship in the financial sector. the way you enable that is transparency. the problem here is that investors, i'm talking about the biggest hedge funds and mutual funds all investors have no way of knowing how their stock market orders are handles. the reason they can be fleeced, is that they don't though what happened. if you can introduce transparency in that environment, then you introduce an incentive in the market for people to create a fair exchange and go to a fair exchange.
>> driving that transparency is important because the alternative is to ratchet everyone back and take away important technology. but the fact is that technology has driven spreads down, as made trading faster, has given assurances and some transparent sit to the individual investor and that's been enormously beneficial. >> you don't want to take that away. you have to distinguish between the computer and computer sacral ping. the technology has been fabulous for the individual investor. >> michael, i can't wait to read your book. i feel like the fellow who was in a haze over the affordable care act. >> still will. >> but thank you so much. what i'm feeling though is that this feels like the next generation of "masters of the universe." it's all hubris and this hot dog attitude some people have on wall street. >> i'm going to let that comment stand. we're going to continue it here, the book is "flash boys." that is all for our conversation today. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday, it's "meet the
press." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com this is the most difficult search in human history. >> i don't want to raise false hopes. >> it's a race against time now. good sunday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you are watching msnbc. crews have heard something. they've heard something as they search for that missing airliner and heard it several times and right now a ship that could figure out what is making those sounds has just reached the location. also, developing at this moment, an elite rescue team just plucked a young family from the high seas. their story coming up. and the detroit man beaten nearly to death by a group when he gets out the check on a boy he just hit wit